J.T. Brown only played 3:46 in the third period of Monday’s 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators. Yet in those three minutes and change, he managed to pack in quite a bit of action. Sure, he didn’t score a goal or even assist on one, but he did what he does — and in doing so, managed to draw the ire of the Nashville Twitter fans.
It actually started out nicely for Brown as he hopped over the boards 43 seconds into the period on a line with Brayden Point and Vlad Namestnikov. By that point, coach Jon Cooper was looking to find offense from anywhere and had shaken up his lines a bit. It didn’t work, and Brown was on the bench for about three minutes as the Lightning fought to overcome their weariness and claw back into the game.
At the 14:19 minute mark of the period, Brown announced his presence on the ice with authority as he rocked Preds defenseman Roman Josi with a clean shoulder check behind the Nashville net. Brown saw Josi was looking down at the puck and then put his shoulder into Josi’s shoulder, leveling the 6-foot-2 Swiss national.
Brown made contact with his body, didn’t lift up through the hit or leave his skates, so no big deal, right? Let’s see how Nashville Twitter responded.
If Josi is actually hurt I will fly to Tampa and end Brown myself. #Preds— Fiona Black (@Princess__Fiona) November 22, 2016
Who knew Nashville fans were so prone to violence?
That’s right. Who cares about the defender that scored two goals? Preds should have kept the one that would have started a fight with a fourth-liner after a perfectly legal hit.
So, not very good. But hey the Preds were winning, and Josi walked off the ice so all things considered not too bad. Some brief outrage that will be forgotten by the time the pumpkin pie is devoured on Thursday.
Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It seems defender Ryan Ellis (who had a really good game) wanted to make sure Brown knew that the Preds didn’t like the hit. So Ellis took a shot at Brown from behind. A shot that Brian Boyle didn’t care for. Ellis didn’t think it through.
Pretty sure the kids would say “Brown went HAM on Ellis.” Brown is a pretty mild-mannered guy, can be a bit pesky on the ice, but hasn’t earned a reputation as a dirty player or goon. So it was a bit of a surprise when he proceeded to keep wailing on Ellis while the Nashville player was on the ice. Even after the linesman finally pulled him off the defenseless Ellis, Brown was still looking to engage and came dangerously close to striking an official.
Seeing their 25-year-old defenseman getting beat like a pinata went over well with Nashville Twitter, right?
Which is impressive since Brown had his back to Ellis the entire time. Brown must have outstanding “hockey vision.”
@OnTheForecheck me too, Alex...how do they not suspend Brown for going full (twd) Negen on Ellis? Is "defenseless" player a thing?— Ken (@PREDStotheCAP) November 22, 2016
Dropping a “Walking Dead” reference in. Very nicely done.
Can't believe people are defending brown and calling ellis a goon on youtube— Ariel (@Countrychick524) November 22, 2016
Yes, because YouTube commenters are who you should listen to for reasonable discourse.
I always think when someone does what JT Brown did to Ryan Ellis today, that charges should be pressed. That's not a "hockey play".— Jared Stillman (@JaredStillman) November 22, 2016
Not sure getting the law involved is the right way to go.
JT Brown just jumped Ellis and started punching him. Never seen anything like it. What an asshole. He'll be getting a call tomorrow.— Hockey615 (@hockey_615) November 22, 2016
I’m sure Brown got a lot of calls from his friends after that play. But, probably not the call @hockey-615 was hoping for.
There were more angry Tweets, but this is a family website and there is no need to promote fans who can’t get their point across without using vulgarity.
In the end, Ellis was assigned an interference penalty and a game misconduct while Brown picked up a roughing penalty, a game misconduct, and plenty of enemies in Nashville. There was no call from the Department of Player Safety so he will be available to play Wednesday against the Flyers (and a possible rematch against friend Radko Gudas).
The outrage from Nashville fans was understandable. Josi is one of their very best players. Seeing him rocked by a fourth-line player (no disrespect to Brown) is going to upset them. If Colton Sissons had knocked Victor Hedman out of the game with a shoulder check Lightning fans would be crying foul on Twitter. That’s the beauty of the medium — it is a vessel for immediate reaction. There is no time for reflection with Twitter. It’s just pure emotion.
Emotional response can also lead to mistakes. Mistakes like tweeting at the wrong Ryan Ellis.
Dammit 'other Ryan Ellis', you got me so many hate tweets last night. We need to drop the gloves. https://t.co/DiT9IoUuxk— Ryan Ellis (@ryanellisracing) November 22, 2016
Always check the Twitter handles before you “hate tweet.”